For those wanting to shift a few pounds, losing weight while not having to cut out any particular food or food group is surely the dream combination.
Too often diet plans and weight-loss programs instruct you to stop eating carbohydrates entirely, to cut out candy or to never go near a cookie again. With the basic principle of sticking to a calorie count and macronutrient ratio, you won’t have to.
Working out how many calories you are taking in and how many you are burning is critical to remaining at a calorie deficit when trying to lose weight.
Why and when to lose weight
Sometimes, losing weight is more aesthetic than physical or medical desire. Getting “beach body ready” is a common psyche and, if it makes you eat more healthily and exercise more, it is probably not a bad one.
That said, striving to look like Instagram models or the Hollywood superstars can be a toxic want. It is far better motivation to lose weight in order to improve your health, than to try reach unachievable levels of fitness.
Losing weight, especially for those who are currently overweight or obese, lowers the risk of some truly serious health problems. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer are three of the most commonly cited issues related to being overweight, and so shedding a few pounds, even just 5% of your original weight, and keeping them off is essential to steering clear of these diseases.
There is no bad time to lose weight but trying to do it quickly and with fad diets is generally not a fantastic idea. Weight loss should come as part of a lifestyle change, be it in terms of diet, exercise or both, so that the rate of slimming is a natural and healthy one.
What are calories?
If you are to pursue this weight loss dream, you need to understand what calories are and how to count them. In simple terms, calories show us how much energy is contained in a certain amount of food. This energy is to be used by the body for a number of purposes, as calories come in the form of proteins, carbohydrates (including sugar) and fats. The body then makes glucose, the sugar that fuels our body’s actions, out of these nutrients.
It is for this reason that calories are so important. Without them, the human body would not be able to function. However, once your calorie intake is higher than what your body is actually using, the leftovers are stored either as muscle or fat tissues.
“If it Fits Your Macros”
Now, onto the interesting part. You may have read about “IIFYM” before; if not, it’s simple.
Macronutrients are the nutrients found in food or supplements that give the human body energy – namely fat, protein and carbohydrates. Using Myprotein’s IIFYM calculator, you can easily work out what ratio of these macros you should be consuming in order to achieve weight loss or even weight gain, when combined with consuming the correct amount of calories.
If both your calorie count and your macro ratio are correct, you should see results without having to cut out a food group entirely. Getting your macros right is vital but is still dependent on remaining at a calorie deficit if you are looking to lose weight.
Remaining at a calorie deficit
Your maintenance calories are the average amount of calories you consume to maintain your normal weight. Working out how many calories you are taking in and how many you are burning is critical to remaining at a calorie deficit, as you want to be able to adjust your calorie deficit depending on how quickly or slowly you are losing weight over the course of the first few weeks of your program.
Totting up everything you eat and noting it down is not only an excellent way of remaining calorie deficient, taking in 500kcals less than your maintenance calories, for example, but it also makes you much more aware of the types of food you are eating.
To remain calorie deficient it is not necessary to cut out a food group, that is the beauty of IIFYM, but if you are becoming aware that you eat far too much cake or chips, for example, you might want to cut down on them for other health reasons.
Planning for meals out
Occasionally, you might not particularly want to have to remain calorie deficient. This is most likely because you are enjoying a special meal out where, although the calorie count of your meals might well be labelled, you don’t want to pick the salad.
This is manageable, so long as you balance out your calorie intake for the week. Multiplying your daily calorie target by seven will provide you with a weekly calorie target, which can still be met if you simply cut back slightly on one day before dining out the next.
If you are going to break through your calorie deficit one week, attempt to still break even rather than having a calorie surplus. That way, at least you won’t be gaining any weight.
High-calorie food and drink
To effectively stay on top of your calorie count and still be able to eat whatever you want, you should be aware of what food and drink are particularly high in calories and should therefore be eaten in moderation.
Granola, meat, fish, tofu, dairy, avocados and nuts are all common and popular food that, while having plenty of alternative nutritional value, are comparatively high in calories. Alcohol is also a silent calorie carrier, with many forgetting to count drinks as well as food.
One glass of wine generally contains around 120 calories, while cider or beer can often be up to 200. Again, it is not necessary to cut these out entirely if you do not want to, but they must be included in your calorie count.
Weight loss should come as part of a lifestyle change, be it in terms of diet, exercise or both, so that the rate of slimming is a natural and healthy one.
Reverse: gaining weight
Finally, now you know how calorie counting and macro ratios can help you lose weight without cutting out a food group, it’s interesting to note that the same process works in reverse.
For those wanting to gain weight, running at a calorie surplus while consuming the correct amount of macronutrients will healthily build body mass.
What are your favorite tips for losing weight?
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